How to Navigate a Roundabout


There aren’t as many roundabouts in the U.S as there are in Europe. However, in certain neighborhoods in Orange County, I have noticed that there are quite a few. Roundabouts are changing the way we drive. What once was a hazard, our accident lawyer has learned that they are being used to ease congestion, they cost less to operate, and they reduce accidents by half. They also use less energy than an intersection that is operated by signals. Below are some tips on how to navigate a roundabout safely. If you are suffering from injuries due to an accident, contact a car accident attorney at Silverthorne Attorneys. Consultations are free!

Accident Lawyer | Navigating Roundabouts

Though it may seem simple, it is not always easy to figure out how to navigate around a roundabout. Here are some tips on navigating a single-lane roundabout.

Slow As You Approach

As you approach the roundabout, you will usually see a signs that says, “Roundabout Ahead,” or there is usually a picture of a roundabout followed by a “Yield” sign. the recommended speed in this area is normally 15-20mph. These can be extremely difficult to navigate when you are unfamiliar with them.

Look to your left before entering the roundabout; you want to make sure to yield to oncoming traffic. Traffic already traveling in the roundabout has the right-of-way. Be sure to not enter unless there is enough room for you to safely maneuver in. If there is no traffic in the roundabout, it is not necessary to yield.

Oftentimes, crosswalks are placed one or two car-lengths before the actual roundabout. Make sure to yield to any pedestrians who are in, or are about to enter the crosswalk in the roundabout.

Use Proper Driving Etiquette

Just as you would use your turn signal to indicate that you are changing lanes or turn, use it as you approach your desired exit in the roundabout. This will inform other drivers and will ease any confusion going forward.

The Importance of Yielding

Make sure you yield to pedestrians that are in the crosswalk and emergency vehicles when you are exiting. Unless the pedestrian is crossing the street or an ambulance is entering or exiting the roundabout, proceed through to the exit without stopping or slowing down. This will be the only time you will yield in the roundabout. When you are already in the roundabout, it will be everyone else’s responsibility to yield to you.

Never stop in the roundabout; even if an emergency vehicle is behind you. Instead, exit at your original destination and then immediately pull over.

Navigating Multi-Lane Roundabouts

Though you will go through some of the same steps as a single-lane roundabout, it is crucial to know how to navigate a multi-lane roundabout. for instance, if you ever find yourself driving in Old Towne Orange.

When entering the roundabout, you want to yield to both lanes of traffic. If you know that you will be making a right turn and will be staying in the rightmost lane, wait for the oncoming car in the left lane to pass before entering. Although it is usually frowned upon, the car can merge into your lane just as you are entering the roundabout. Thus causing an accident, thus it is important to pay extra close attention to the oncoming traffic.

Choosing Your Lane

When approaching a roundabout, you want to choose which lane to enter based on which direction you want to exit. for instance, in multi-lane roundabout usually have three or more possible exits. Therefore, the lane you choose to drive in is determined by the kind of turn you want to take.

  • If you want to turn left, go straight, or make a U-turn, stay in the left lane;
  • Occupy the right lane if you want to turn right or continue to go straight;
  • Make sure to look for signs that indicate the allowed movements for each lane;
    • these will be located above or alongside the road;
    • there may be arrows painted on the road itself;

You never want to drive next to or attempt to pass a large truck while you are navigating a multi-lane roundabout. This is because these trucks have a larger turning radius, making them a dangerous obstacle within a roundabout. for safety reasons, give them ample room to turn by staying behind them more than you would normally.

Other Factors to Consider

There are other factors you are going to want to consider when you are trying to navigate your way through a roundabout. One being, you don’t ever want to stop in the middle of a roundabout. Especially with oncoming traffic. This is because a roundabout is like an intersection where there is a constant flow of traffic. Though that traffic may not always be heavy, you always want to be on alert. Furthermore, stopping in the middle of a roundabout will cause congestion and increase the likelihood of an accident.

One other thing you want to look out for, especially within busy parts of the city, is pedestrians. When you are entering and exiting roundabouts with crosswalks, you always want to be on the lookout for pedestrians. Speaking from experience when walking and driving through the Orange circle, people not only speed and aren’t paying attention while driving, pedestrians have a tendency to walk out in front of traffic.

Contacting a Car Accident Attorney

There are so many ways to get through roundabouts during the busy times of the day or evening. Don’t stress yourself out if you are having a difficult time navigating them. It can be tricky, especially if you are using GPS and are having trouble navigating around the roundabout.

If you have been injured in an accident, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your case. Consultations with an accident attorney are free!